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Highlights from our First Optimise Home Event

Optimise Home how to kickstart you home improvement

There was a fantastic turn out for our first Optimise Home event. A huge thanks to everyone who came along and to our fantastic speakers for sharing their knowledge and experience.

Optimise Home how to kickstart your home improvement

Denise’s top tip:

Make sure you are really well prepared. Any kind of home renovation or extension is a daunting task. There’s so much to think about from managing your budget to picking all of your finishes and fittings. Unless you are well prepared you risk everything becoming stressful very quickly once the work starts.

You should have everything chosen and agreed before your builder starts on site. That way you know what everything costs and you have everything ready when the builder needs it, avoiding the need to have to make on-the-spot decisions. It’s also really important that you do some research before your start.

Spend some time online and looking at magazines to build up a collection of images for inspiration. Not only will this help you to understand what you like and dislike but it will be a fantastic way to communicate your ideas to your architect, designer or contractor, and to any suppliers that you may be using.

Optimise Home how to kickstart your home improvement

Neuroscientist, Dr Michael Keane’s top tip:

Think about how ‘you’ want to live in your home. What are you trying to achieve from the renovation or extension? For example, do you want to be able to spend more time together as a family? Is conversation something you want to prioritise?

If so you might want to ensure that the TV is not the central focus of the main family living space. It’s critical you plan the interior design of your home to suit how you and your family want to live. The changes you make should solve real problems, things that affect you on a regular basis and never be based on what you think you should be doing.

Once you’ve cracked the layout you need to focus on the atmosphere or ambience. There are many layers to this, things like light, both natural and artificial, colour and acoustics are all going to have a significant impact on how the space makes you feel.

Optimise Home how to kickstart your home improvement

Building Contractor, Mark Smith’s top tip:

There are 3 priorities that most clients seek when renovating or extending their home, Cost, Quality and Time. In other words as low a spend as possible with a high quality finish in as fast a time as possible. But the reality is that you can never achieve all 3 of these things together.

You can have a high-quality finish but it will take time and will cost money. You can have a quick turnaround but again it will be costly if you want a quality finish. And you can make savings when it comes to spending but you do risk compromising on the quality of the finish.

Optimise Home how to kickstart your home improvement

Quantity Surveyor, Michael Walsh’s top tip:

Make sure you have a good handle on your budget. Budgeting for a project is one of the most daunting aspects for many people. It’s also one where there is a lot of conflicting advice. The only way to get an accurate price for the work you intend to do it to get quotes.

This is because despite there being typical rates for various aspects of the work, they are only a guide and will vary depending on who prices the work. When calculating your total budget make sure you include any additional costs like rent if you need to move out, storage, planning contributions etc.

When you have a firm idea of what your budget is you will need to set aside at least 10pc as a contingency for any unexpected extras. Building projects can often run up against problems that are impossible to predict from the outset. Keep track of your spend throughout the project and if necessary engage the services of a QS to help you.

Optimise Home how to kickstart your home improvement

The talk was followed by some great audience participation and discussion, thanks again to all who attended and helping to make the evening so enjoyable.

As a thanks you to all who attended we created a special Workbook specifically designed to  track a typical week at home to help figure out what is and isn’t working so that  you can start to create a brief for your home improvement and prioritise where to invest the budget that you have to spend to ensure you get the best possible return.

We’ve turned this workbook into a PDF which is available to download when you sign up for our blog. Simply fill in your details below to grab your copy now.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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